February 15, 2016,

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

One month ago today, January 15, my wife, May Ruth, and our son, Will, put our beloved dog, Jacob, down. I was in Haiti at the time. May Ruth and I agreed the time had come. Will came down to our home in Florida from college to help May Ruth. Jacob received two shots. One relaxed him at put him to sleep. The second took his life. Will buried Jacob’s body in our back yard.

Jacob was a Collie and as fine a pet as any human could have. We raised him from a pup. He was well-trained and never stole food. He was 12 years old when we put him down. His weight had dropped from a normal 75 pounds to 56. He was drinking water constantly but not urinating. It hurt to him to lie down, and he could no longer run or go on walks. This was such a change for a dog who could run like the wind.

Jacob loved children. for much of his life we lived near a pre-school where he taught many children to love dogs. Once I took him to a clinic to visit a parishioner who suffered from a brain injury. The parishioner was angry and shouting at the therapists. Jacob jumped on the therapy pallet, instinctively walked to his new friend, put his front paws on one side of his stomach and his back paws on the other side. He then lay down across his stomach. The parishioner shifted from anger to laughter.

Now that Jacob is gone I wonder what has happened to him? What does God do with noble animals who have lived with such love? Perhaps St. Peter moved Jacob straight through the Pearly Gates while I, along with all other humans with our proclivities toward evil, need to stand judgment. If that’s the case, Jacob may have a long list of things I did to him, and I suspect I have no defense.

It is right to honor the pets in our midst. St. Francis knew what he was doing in blessing the animals. As I miss my special friend, I know more than ever what a blessing he was. Jacob, you were the best! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,